The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #317 and Like a Hood Ornament 37: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 5, Rocketeer News, and Toymaking Updates

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #317 and Like a Hood Ornament 37: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 5, Rocketeer News, and Toymaking Updates

https://archive.org/download/podcast-317/Podcast%20317.mp3

Some interesting news this week.  The Rocketeer is supposedly getting a sequel!  Now, I am not holding my breath, since there have been sequel rumors for years, and so far, they have all died on the vine.  But it is exciting, nonetheless.  Even if nothing comes of it, if it generates some interest in Dave Steven’s original comics and the 1991 film for a new generation, I view that as a win.

One thing that does seem more tangible, since it is slated for a release next month, is a beautiful Rockeeter board game.  Now, I gotta be honest, board games have never really been my thing.  Half the time, when I read the instructions, I go, “What?  I don’t understand what the hell you are supposed to do.  Who wrote these things?”  Also, maybe once my kids are older and we can all play them together, it will be a different story, but most of the ones more complicated that Candy Landy require a level of concentration pretty much making them a no-go for the little ones.  But … that is not to say that will always be the case!  Plus, game or no game, I would buy this one for the little miniature Rocketeer figurines alone (which I was thinking of trying to make a few months ago – this saves me the trouble)!  I will be looking forward to this one this fall for sure.

Speaking of The Rocketeer, I am using a Reaction Rocketeer figure as the base of the body for a 5 POA Kenner-style figure of Logan from The Thirteenth Hour.  The head will be modified from a figure of the Charlie Sheen character from Red Dawn.  Just need to do a few more touch ups and then make it all go together smoothly.  More to come shortly.

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Here are a few pictures of the Beverly minifigure I have been working on for the past few months:  Just about done, I think.  Just a few touch ups here and there.

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And now, speaking of which, back to the duck!

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This is the section in the story where Howard meets Phil (a young Tim Robbins).  There are some really funny asides the author, Ellis Weiner, added for this segment:

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Lastly, all proceeds to The Thirteenth Hour Studio on Etsy over Sept will be donated to the Red Cross (RedCross.org) for Hurricane Ida Relief. Check the link below to support those affected, still in the midst of the pandemic, with 80s retro art (music-books-toys).

 
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Stay tuned for more!
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #316: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 4

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #316: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 4

https://archive.org/download/podcast-316/Podcast%20316.mp3

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This week, we’re again taking a short break from the 30th anniversary of The Rocketeer by celebrating the 35th anniversary of my another of my favorite films, Howard the Duck.  The zaniness continues in the movie novelization of Howard the Duck by Ellis Weiner, based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, though with a number of humorous and satirical additions that were unique to the novelization.  Some of those are also found in the three part comic adaptation that came out about the same time as the film and novel.  A few screenshots: 

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As mentioned in previous weeks, there is a Howard the Duck documentary, Howard the Doc, currently being created with interviews from some of the original writers / cast / crew. I do believe it is the only one that has ever been attempted for this first of all Marvel movies.

It is in the final stages of production. Their team needs some love / support / bucks to help complete the project, and you can support them on Indiegogo. Some crowdfunding platforms don’t result in any funding going to the creators if the final goal is not met, but in this case, the filmmakers will get it every penny that you contribute even if the final target is not met. If you have love for the 1986 film, comic, the original cast/crew, or 80s movies in general, please consider taking a look at the campaign, sharing on your social media, or contributing. Hopefully, then we can all see the final product!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/howard-the-doc-documentary-finishing-funds

Some screenshots of the production with Ed Gale (who was inside Howard), Jeffrey Jones (a.k.a. the principal who get booted in the face in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and Lea Thompson.

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The minifigure that I am making of Beverly, along with a portrait of Howard, is now a perk if you contribute at the $125 level.  Check out the fundraiser above; I believe it is ending on 8/30, so spread the word! 

Stay tuned for more!
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #315: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 3

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #315: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 3

https://archive.org/download/podcast-315/Podcast%20315.mp3

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This week, we’re again taking a short break from the 30th anniversary of The Rocketeer by celebrating the 35th anniversary of my another of my favorite films, Howard the Duck.  The zaniness continues in the movie novelization of Howard the Duck by Ellis Weiner, based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, though with a number of humorous and satirical additions that were unique to the novelization.  So far, I’m liking the novel version of Howard more than the movie version (some screenshots below from the film of this segment). 

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In this part of the chapter, we learn a little more about Beverly Switzler, the frontswoman of Cherry Bomb, an all female band essentially created for the film.  Howard, sleeping in a garbage can, meets Beverly, who has just played a disappointing gig and gets accosted by some overly intrusive “fans.”  He fakes some “quack fu” and scares the things away, though as in the film, Bev hardly sits passively at the sidelines.

I found some drawings I believe done by Joe Tompkins, the costume designer for the film.  There’s a collection of sketches he did that you can see from the film for Beverly and Howard (click below for more info):

beverly howard costume

howard sketch

Speaking of the film, there is a Howard the Duck documentary, Howard the Doc, currently being created with interviews from some of the original writers / cast / crew. I do believe it is the only one that has ever been attempted for this first of all Marvel movies.

It is in the final stages of production. Their team needs some love / support / bucks to help complete the project, and you can support them on Indiegogo. Some crowdfunding platforms don’t result in any funding going to the creators if the final goal is not met, but in this case, the filmmakers will get it every penny that you contribute even if the final target is not met. If you have love for the 1986 film, comic, the original cast/crew, or 80s movies in general, please consider taking a look at the campaign, sharing on your social media, or contributing. Hopefully, then we can all see the final product!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/howard-the-doc-documentary-finishing-funds

Some screenshots of the production with Ed Gale (who was inside Howard), Jeffrey Jones (a.k.a. the principal who get booted in the face in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and Lea Thompson.

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Stay tuned for more!
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #314: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #314: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-314/Podcast%20314.mp3

img_4596
This week, we’re again taking a short break from the 30th anniversary of The Rocketeer by celebrating the 35th anniversary of my another of my favorite films, Howard the Duck.  The zaniness continues in the movie novelization of Howard the Duck by Ellis Weiner, based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, though with a number of humorous and satirical additions that were unique to the novelization.  So far, I’m liking the novel version of Howard more than the movie version.  

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An example of some of the bits of humor thrown in by author Ellis Weiner that doesn’t make it onto the screen. Sometimes these movie novelizations were kind of phoned in, but so far, this one really goes above and beyond the call of duty. 

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Here is the section where we meet our heroine, Beverly.  There is a little more detail about her and her band mates here than in the film, which is one of the nice things that these movie novelization did when done well.

Speaking of the film, there is a Howard the Duck documentary, Howard the Doc, currently being created with interviews from some of the original writers / cast / crew. I do believe it is the only one that has ever been attempted for this first of all Marvel movies.

It is in the final stages of production. Their team needs some love / support / bucks to help complete the project, and you can support them on Indiegogo. Some crowdfunding platforms don’t result in any funding going to the creators if the final goal is not met, but in this case, the filmmakers will get it every penny that you contribute even if the final target is not met. If you have love for the 1986 film, comic, the original cast/crew, or 80s movies in general, please consider taking a look at the campaign, sharing on your social media, or contributing. Hopefully, then we can all see the final product!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/howard-the-doc-documentary-finishing-funds

Some screenshots of the production with Ed Gale (who was inside Howard), Jeffrey Jones (a.k.a. the principal who get booted in the face in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and Lea Thompson.

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Stay tuned for more!
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #313: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 1

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #313: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast-313/Podcast%20313.mp3

 

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This week, we’re taking a short break from the 30th anniversary of The Rocketeer by celebrating the 35th anniversary of my another of my favorite films, Howard the Duck.  When I was creating the Aurora character from The Thirteenth Hour, Beverly from the film was one of the influences I used in creating Aurora’s character.  Awhile back, I found an old copy of the movie novelization so figured this would be the perfect time to read it on the podcast.  It’s based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, so I’m thinking it may give some background info that might help explain some parts of the film.  And this intro section does not disappoint – it is totally bonkers!

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If you’re a member of the Patreon, check out the exclusive podcast they dropped this past weekend for more on the making of a Beverly minifigure.  Will be posting periodic updates as the initial clay sculpt gets finished and the molding / casting process gets underway. 

Stay tuned for more!
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #289: Knowing Yourself, Ukemi, Relaxing into Existential Angst, and Deep Breathing with A Thirteenth Hour Reading

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #289: Knowing Yourself, Ukemi, Relaxing into Existential Angst, and Deep Breathing with A Thirteenth Hour Reading

This week’s episode comes at a time of increasing national and global anxiety about the future, and as inhabitants on this rock orbiting a star on the edge of the Milky Way, we’re subject to the milieu of the environment, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of angst in the soup.  And as anyone who’s ever had a muscle cramp can attest, the way around a cramp is not with more tension, it’s relaxing into it – leaning in to the pain.  In this episode, I talk about the concept of the “receiving body” (ukemi in Japanese, though usually translated as “breakfall”).  If we meet the impact of a blow or a fall head on, we play a game of structural strength with the opposing force.  When you play that game with the ground, you always lose (unless you are Chuck Norris, of course).  Just as a good training partner (uke, a.k.a. “receiver”) is able to flow with an attacker and ride off (or simulate) the impact of an attack so his partner can learn how the body moves and responds, doing a good ukemi means never making a dead landing.  It means rolling with the force of the fall as best you can.  The ability to relax the body in such situations is counter-intuitive, since the natural instinct is to brace for impact, but remember, the ground always wins in a game of strength. 

Ukemi is not limited to the physical, though.  We are always receiving bodies of the slings and arrows that life throws at us.  There, too, the ability to relax is counter-intuitive.  Thankfully, as with breakfalls, the ability to relax into potential pain can be taught and practiced.  We all have the ability within ourselves.  In this episode, I talk about one of the simplest (though I didn’t say easiest), most natural (again, natural does not mean intuitive) things we all know how to do – breathing.  It does take a bit of practice to do it in a way that slows things down to a more manageable pace, but the good news is that once you know how to do it, you can practice deep, slow breathing almost anywhere, anytime, and it doesn’t have to be during a time of official “meditation” (I did it the other day in a dentist’s chair).  

If the music playing during the breathing segment sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to the intro podcast music.  It’s a slow reworking of The Thirteenth Hour theme.  For Patreon supporters, watch for an exclusive podcast episode on it sometimes this week as well as a longer stretch to accompany the breathing exercise.  I’ll make an accompanying video soon as well.

Speaking of music, the song “Many Miles” debuts tomorrow.  It ended up taking 6 years, but I’m glad with how it ended up turning out! 

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CLXNZk_Bz2T/?igshid=enga3ubaar16

And, as mentioned last episode, the patches I mentioned a few weeks ago are now ready and available for purchase here!  They come with a high quality mp3 download from Once Upon a Dream, the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack LP.

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If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #260 and Like a Hood Ornament 15: Reading from Chapter 3 of the Last Rocketeer

Episode #260 and Like a Hood Ornament 15: Reading from Chapter 3 of the Last Rocketeer

https://archive.org/download/podcast-260/Podcast%20260.mp3

This week, I’m reading from the next installment of the fanfic short story, “The Last Rocketeer,” describing a team-up between Centauri from The Last Starfighter and a 71 year-old Cliff Secord who has long since given up being the Rocketeer (but secretly wants one last flight).  He gets his chance in this tale!  But as usual with Cliff, it all goes south!  Find out what happens this week as the defecation starts to hit the proverbial ventilation!

You can read the first chapter on Wattpad here: https://www.wattpad.com/919346978-the-last-rocketeer-1-in-which-cliff-finds-a

Here’s part 2: https://www.wattpad.com/926948946-the-last-rocketeer-2-nighttime-visitors

And here’s the section I was reading from today: https://www.wattpad.com/930869004-the-last-rocketeer-3-into-the-depths-of-hell

Stay tuned for Chapter 4!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #254: Welcome Back AC to Discuss Weird Science! (John Hughes Part 2/2)

Episode #254: Welcome Back AC to Discuss Weird Science! (John Hughes Part 2/2)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-254/Podcast%20254.mp3

On this week’s show, Adam from AC Toy Design comes back on the show to talk about another John Hughes films – last week, we discussed Pretty in Pink (see episode 253) and, this week, we’re talking about Weird Science.

Weird Science” — Review – AHSneedle

This film is probably John Hughes’ only real fantasy (sexually frustrated teenage boys create a woman a la Frankenstein or Pygmalion).  So – basically, a pretty guy-centric film that has many things in it that would never get it made today.  Still – despite all that, it has some great scenes that still hold up today.  Check out these:

Look at how Lisa deals with Gary’s parents (who are your typical John Hughes parents, meaning that they are clueless).

A great scene with Vince Townsend Jr. (RIP)

“The Circle” by Max Carl is playing in the background with the boys wrap up the crazy party with their respective girls.  The Weird Science soundtrack is another great soundtrack.

The scene “The Circle” is playing in always stuck with me.  There was a little homage to it in this scene from The Thirteenth Hour.  The main character, Logan, is trying to express similar sentiments to his best friend, Aurora, during a difficult point in their lives (they are both basically imprisoned):

The next day, a clanging sound woke me from my dream. I looked around, not quite
aware what was real and what was still a dream.

“Chow time,” came the gruff voice of a guard, opening the door of my cell. Aurora stood
behind him, carrying a basket. I noticed she was wearing a new dress. The guard put a meaty hand on the basket and pulled, but Aurora quietly but firmly held onto it. Then the guard let go, peeked inside, and grunted something that sounded like, “Huh. Alright. You can go in. But no funny business.”

“Hear that, Aurora? No funny business,” I said, yawning, wiping the sleepiness out of
my eyes.

Aurora just shook her head and gave me one of her half smiles. “Always the joker.”

We sat against the wall, looking up at the sunlight coming through the small window by
the ceiling as we ate the meal in the basket. When we had finished, we continued sitting there, and I guess a little smile crept over my face because after awhile Aurora asked, “What are you thinking?”

“I feel lucky.”

[POV change to Aurora temporarily] I laughed a little. “Lucky?” I asked, smiling at Logan.

“Well, you remember that first day we met?” Logan asked.

I nodded.

“What would’ve happened if it hadn’t been you who’d found me that day and taken me
into the orphanage? What if it’d been someone else? We might not have gotten to know each other very well at all. Was it fate that we met? The Dreamweaver said he tries to just let things happen. So was it just chance?”

I shrugged, raising my eyebrows and smiling while cocking my head a little to the side to
avoid the sun’s glare.

“You know, even if I could get to know all the women in the world, one by one, like in a
giant, living catalog …” Logan started.

“Yeah,” I interrupted, “quote–unquote ‘get to know.’”

“Alright, whatever,” he continued, exasperated, “I suck at talking. But what I’m trying
to say is that … if … if I were given the opportunity to create an ideal woman, like take some of this, mix it with some of that …”

“Oh, like a recipe.”

“Yes. I mean, no! Dammit, I knew what I wanted to say in my head, and it’s coming out
all wrong.” He started again. “What I’m trying to say is … that if I could pick the perfect one … for me, she’d be … just like you. I think I always knew that. It’s just that … it took a long time for me to be able to tell you. So yes, in so many words, I feel lucky.”

I was actually a little stunned. Here’s a little something that took me a long time to figure
out. If you complement someone soon after you meet him, you sound like a kiss–ass. But if you wait, get to know the person, and then complement him, your words carry so much more weight because then the person knows you’re sincere. In all the time I’d known Logan, this awkward, limping, borderline aphasic complement was probably the first, totally serious, non–joking one he’d ever given me. And it meant more to me than any flowing, articulate, greeting–card style prose could or ever would. My face grew hot, and I felt all warm inside. And now it was my turn to be tongue–tied.

“I … I feel lucky, too,” I said, finally, resting my head on his arm.

[Logan from here on out] Then the guard walked by and signalled that it was time for Aurora to go.

I thought of something. “New dress?”

“Oh, I found some old clothes lying around in my room. This one fits a little better.”

“Do you still have your grey dress? The one you got from the elves?”

“Sure, why?”

“Can I borrow it?”

She laughed loudly and asked, “Whatever would you want it for?”

“To use as a pillow. I don’t have one.”

I wasn’t sure, but I thought I saw Aurora blushing. “Sure, I mean … I … could just bring
you a real pillow. I have an extra. But I’ll see,” Aurora started, looking down, “what I can put together, and I’ll get it to you next time I can slip away.” Then she looked back up at me and said, “To say that your cell needs furnishing is probably the understatement of the year. And we’ll have to see what we can do about your food service. Water with a side of algae just doesn’t cut it these days.”

The guard grunted something and led Aurora out. Through the bars, she looked back and
whispered softly into my ear, “I love you, Logan.”

“I love you, too,” I said, reminding myself again of a debt I owed, a debt I wouldn’t mind
paying for the rest of my life, to luck, to dreams and wishes, to Dragons’ Eyes and grey dresses, to love and other things.

I ended up writing a song to go with this particular scene for the soundtrack called “Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things” that expresses similar sentiments:

Look for more John Hughes in the future!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #246 and Like a Hood Ornament 6 – The Reluctant Hero

Episode #246 and Like a Hood Ornament 6 – The Reluctant Hero

https://archive.org/download/podcast-246/Podcast%20246.mp3

This week’s show is about the idea of the reluctant hero, an archetype in literature and film to describe an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and as a result does things beyond what he or she could ever had imagined.  We also talk about various definitions of the word “hero,” from the ancient Greek usage, to hero in terms of an idol, to a hero in terms of someone who does something selfless to help someone else, whether in the everyday or out of the ordinary sense.

I didn’t read this segment in the show, but here a chapter in The Thirteenth Hour which describes this idea where Logan, the main protagonist, first becomes a reluctant hero:

The day before the end of basic training, I went into town to find a shoe repair shop.  A buckle on my left shoe had broken a few days ago and now, every time I stepped down with that foot, my heel would slide out of the shoe.  It was getting annoying, but I’d finally managed to put together enough money to cover what I thought it’d cost.  One gold piece came from a poker game where I’d gotten lucky, and the rest I’d gotten from picking pennies off the street, which is what you do when you don’t get paid.

I asked a man on one of the crowded streets for directions. When I got to the shop, there was a big sign that said, “CLOSED FOR REPAIRS, WILL REOPEN IN TWO WEEKS.”

“Figures,” I thought to myself.  “Two weeks?  Maybe there’s another shop in town.”  I went back to kicking a stone and trying not to fling my boot off in the process as I wandered through the downtown merchant sector, considering what to do next. 

So there I was, minding my own business when I heard an ear–piercing scream.  I spun around, forgetting all about my shoe and the rock.  Right in the middle of the dirt road lay an old man, struggling to get up.  About ten yards away, barrelling down the road at full speed was a four horse carriage.  The driver in front was shouting out commands to his horses, but they weren’t listening.  There was a big crowd of people watching from the sidewalks.  I saw the woman that had screamed; she was still screaming. 

“Somebody do something!”  Apparently, that didn’t include herself. 

In fact, everyone stared around blankly, waiting for someone else to make the first move.  A few people new to the scene made faces and hurried off. 

“Do something!” she screamed over and over.

Aw, shit, people, the lady had a point. Though I had half a mind to throw something at her to get her to shut up, I pushed past the people on the edge and jumped into the middle of the road.  The next few seconds seemed to be in slow motion.  Unfortunately, in what was to become regular pattern until progressing to a more advanced stage of cognitive development, I didn’t think first before doing something idiotic. 

At any rate, the man was sitting up, dazed.  I don’t know how close the carriage was, but it couldn’t have been far, because as I dove at the old man, tackling him around the waist, a horse clipped the loose heel of my boot, the busted one, sending it spinning off into the gutter.  We rolled to the other side of the road, missing the remaining hooves by a heartbeat.

I sat up and looked around.  The old man looked all right as far as I could tell, just a little shaken.  Suddenly what seemed like hundreds of faces crowded around us.

“Are you all right?”

“Bravest thing I ever saw.”

“Somebody call a doctor!”

“That was a pretty rough fall that old fella took, is he okay?”

I stood and bent over the old man.  He was breathing, but his eyes were closed.  He looked like he was in pain, but he didn’t utter a sound when I asked if he felt alright. 

 “What happened?  What happened?  I didn’t see,” someone yelled.

“Well, this old fella was walking across the street, he tripped, and he couldn’t get up … mebbe ’cause he’s so old.  Anyway, doesn’t matter now ’cause that’s when the kid jumped in. Tackled him around the waist.”

“The kid’s a hero!” said someone else.  They looked at me, expecting me to say something.

“Well …”  As usual, words failed me.

“Now, don’t be modest, you’re a hero, son.”

Okay, if these people wanted me to be a hero, then what the hell.  Heroes are entitled to certain privileges, like new boots.  Any takers?

Just then, a man in a white coat pushed his way through the crowd saying, “It’s okay, I’m a doctor!”  He bent over the old man, briefly examining him.

After he had finished, the man said, “Probably just a twisted ankle.  No serious injuries I can see from here, but let’s get him on that stretcher.  Watch his head, and keep his neck still.  We’ll carry him to my office.  It’s just a few blocks from here,” said the doctor.

“I don’t need no damn stretcher!” yelled the old man.

“Everybody goes on the stretcher,” the doctor said emphatically.

“Ah, go to hell!  At least let me talk to the kid that saved my rear end!  Hey kid!  Come over here!”

I walked over.

“I just wanted to thank you.  My name’s Wally.  What’s yours?”

“Logan.”

“Well, nice to meet you, Logan.  I’m been living in this stinking kingdom for eighty–five years, and now I guess I’ll be able to stay for a few more years, huh?”

Now was that a good thing?

“You know, kid, you got a real set of marbles to do something like that.  Hell, I wouldn’t have done that even for me!  But hey, no complaints, glad you did.  I could use a kid like you.  What do you do for a living?”

“I’m … a soldier, I guess, in training.”

“No kidding!  That’s perfect.  Meet me at this address tomorrow; you won’t regret it!” he said, handing me a little white card.

“What’s it for?”

“Let me put it to you this way.  You ever see a magician?”

I said I had once.

“And did you like it?”

I said I’d enjoyed the show.

“But weren’t you disappointed when you discovered that he was a fake?  I mean, that he wasn’t using real magic, just tricks?”

I said I was disappointed when he told us that there was no such thing as magic.

“Nonsense!  The lousy bastard didn’t know what he was talking about!  See, you have to understand, real magicians like to keep that a secret … until it’s needed!  So, of course there’s magic.  I’m really not supposed to be telling you that, but, what the hell, kid, you just saved my life.”

“How do you know about magic?”

The old man looked both ways suspiciously.  Motioning for me to come closer, he said, almost in a whisper, “I’ll get to that in a minute.  This is what I’m proposing.  How would you like to learn some genuine, old–fashioned magic?  No bull now.  Just the real thing.  And get paid for it!”

“Well, sure, I guess.”

“Alright.  You like traveling?  Seeing new places?”

“Well, I haven’t really done any, but I would like to.”

“Great!  How about sports?  You like running, climbing, jumping, fencing, things like that?”

“Um, yeah, they’re okay.”

“Would you like to be better at those games?  You’ll get better in this job!”

“Sure … I guess.  What is this job, anyway?”

“Yeah, so it’s all set then.  Meet me tomorrow.  I’ll see to it that an announcement is made tomorrow morning.”

Just then the doctor motioned to his assistant, who picked up the other end of the stretcher.

“Umm, that’s nice and all, but I live in the castle training grounds.  It’s awfully hard for anyone from the outside to get inside there.”

“Oh, silly me!  Did I mention that I am one of King Darian’s wizards?  Well, that’s me.  Wally the Wizard at your service.  I’ll see you tomorrow!” he shouted as he was being carried away.

Wait a minute, I thought to myself.  Something sounded fishy here.  What was one of the King’s wizards doing outside the castle walls?  They supposedly always stayed locked up in one of the remote wings of the castle.  This one was an awfully smooth talker.  I wondered if this had something to do with what those two knights were talking about; one of them had mentioned the King’s wizards.  Something didn’t sound right.  He never even told me what the job was.  And …

“Wait!” I yelled. “What’s the catch?”

But the wizard was too far away to hear.

“Ah, shit,” I muttered to myself, finding my left boot wet and slime–covered in the gutter.  I wiped it off on some grass and secured the loose buckle as best I could.  It squished every time I stepped on it.  Something wasn’t right, but like the proverbial stinking turd, I’d stepped right in it.

Well, I thought, kicking another stone the rest of the way back to the castle, on the bright side, at least I am walking away.  Of all the ways to end up dead or in the hospital, getting trampled was not one I’ve ever wanted to experience. 

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

I first learned of the term “reluctant hero” from an ad for The Rocketeer.  Cliff is not motivated initially by much other than a desire to make some money and get in the good graces of his girlfriend, a rising starlet with an eye for the finer things in life (at least from Cliff’s perspective).  There are lots of other great examples from cinema and literature.

One of my favorites is from the 1992 movie, Hero, with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, and Joan Cusak.  The Dustin Hoffman character is a minor conman, if I recall right (I need to watch the movie again) who becomes a reluctant hero after he saves a bunch of people from a plane crash but can’t take credit for the act.   I love this ending scene – both for its life lessons as well as its insight into human nature.  As hinted above in The Thirteenth Hour passage, a lot of people don’t want to do heroic things, especially when eyes are on them.  They might act when someone else initially steps in, but making that first step (like Logan does above or Bernie does in the scene below), takes a certain, well, heroic disregard for what other people think, and as social animals, that’s not always the easiest thing for humans to have.

Although I hadn’t seen Hero yet when I originally wrote The Thirteenth Hour, I had seen The Last Starfighter – many times, in fact – and the way Alex Rogan behaves through most of the movie is very much in keeping with the way of the reluctant hero (as well as one of the influences in the creation of Logan).  Here’s when he’s first offered the chance to be a Starfighter:

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #245: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Aurora’s First Experience Flying and Like a Hood Ornament 5 – Rocketeer Flying

Episode #245: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Aurora’s First Experience Flying and Like a Hood Ornament 5 – Rocketeer Flying

https://archive.org/download/podcast-245/Podcast%20245.mp3

This week’s show is all about flying!

In the first part of the show, I’m reading from a section of The Thirteenth Hour about what Aurora thought about her first experience flying on Lightning, Logan’s magical hoverboard.

We left for the Castle in the Water the next day.  Logan showed me his air board called Lightning; it was somehow able to expand itself so I could fit on as well.  Let’s just say it’s better if you suspend belief a little.  I guess that’d be a fitting theme for the following section, indeed this whole story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Getting on Lightning was one thing, but flying was something else entirely.  There was only one foot strap for me, so I had to hold onto Logan.  I think I would have anyway.  I had never been more than twenty feet off the ground in my life.  Logan said he was still getting the hang of it when Lightning beeped out something.  Words appeared on some kind of window near her front.  They said that I wouldn’t fall off because there was a protective shield around the board.  I wasn’t so sure, and even to this day, a ride on Lightning makes me want to vomit. 

I suppose flying was fun, in a white–knuckle–ride–by–the–seat–of–your–wet–pants sort of way, but I never really got the hang of it, even though Logan tried to show me how to pilot Lightning.  It should have been easy – you rocked your body back and forth to go up or down and swayed your hips to turn – but I guess it just wasn’t my thing, and I nearly had a heart attack when I accidentally flipped us upside down. 

The altitude was one thing, but the speed completely blew me away.   Okay, I know, not funny.  But really, if you can imagine being shrunk, tied to the head of an arrow, then fired in the air from one of those six foot war bows like the ones the King’s archers used, then you’ll have some idea what it felt like. 

Flying that fast always made me nauseous.  That first time, after an hour or two, I couldn’t take it anymore and told Logan to get Lightning to pull over to the coast (we were flying over water), where I threw up in some bushes.  I collapsed onto my back, staring up at the sky, which, for some reason, kept spinning round and round.  That’s how Logan found me.  It all seemed very unladylike, and I guess I was looking very sheepish when I climbed back on Lightning, because Logan, who must have figured out what I was doing, asked if I were okay.

I grunted something.  I guess I looked okay, so he grinned.

“I puked all over my uniform a few days ago, if that’s any consolation to you.”

It wasn’t, really, because we ended up having to stop two or three more times later on, but it made me laugh a little at the time. 

[Logan] Yeah, I always did wonder where it all came from.  It’s not like we had an overabundant food supply, that’s for sure.  But she seemed to have a never ending supply of that stuff.

You know, who’s telling this section, you or me?

[Logan] Couldn’t help it.   

Right.  So, blah, blah, blah, whatever, I threw up a lot.  Very funny.  Anyway, after that, Lightning slowed down to a kind of cruising speed, which was really nice because it gave us a chance to actually see the landscape we were passing. 

At the end of our first day out, we stopped on a deserted section of coastline to eat and sleep.  We had used our pockets and a sack we found to stash food liberated from the Cordel marketplace, but neither of us were very hungry.  You already know why I wasn’t, but I think it was pretty tough on Logan’s stomach, too.  It had been a long day of travel for both of us, and our heads were still spinning as we lay them on the damp sand.  I leaned over and told Logan that I was glad I could accompany him on his journey and apologized for slowing us down today.  But I think he was falling asleep already, because he just smiled a little, as if to say, “forget it,” and patted me on the shoulder.

Searching for Forever Picture Final more contrast

Another picture painted as the cover art for “Searching for Forever” (that would have fit in towards the end of the book with Logan and Aurora flying to the new home).  Watch it being created below:

There’s an instrumental part to accompany the reading – the backing track of “Searching for Forever” – the 80s inspired ending credits song I envisioned as playing as the story ended.  Both the instrumental and vocal versions can be found on the LP, Long Ago Not So Far Away, and below:

Speaking of music, I’ve been going through a number of acoustic guitar songs I used to play a lot when I was first learning how to play, since in this time of national quarantine, I try to do music time with my kids as a part of, you know, daddy daycare.  I’ve picked out a few that are more hopeful and positive than the stuff songs are often written about (heartbreak, unrequited love, longing, substance use, and other important adult matters).   Anyway, I’ve included one such song (“Flying Free” written by Don Besig) since it is about flying (whether figuratively or literally) free from the constraints that bind us to the earth (again, whether physical or mental).

That’s because today’s Rocketeer segment is also about flying!

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Today marks the fourth Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few previous episodes about the Rocketeer:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, we’re discussing this little documentary hosted by Bill Campbell that came out about the same time as the movie (and sadly, not available on any of the official Rocketeer releases).  It is part history of flight documentary, part behind the scenes movie making, and part experiential journalism into different modes of flight (including actual rocketpacks).

Suffice to say, real life rocketpacks highlight the myriad limitations such a device would likely entail.  But … that’s why we have stories 🙂

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A few frames of Cliff taking off for the first time from the original comic drawn by Dave Stevens (from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition).

We also talked, among other things, about those vague Rocketeer sequel rumors.  But, you know what?  Even if it never happens, we got a cartoon to introduce a whole new generation to the Rocketeer and an epic rocketpack battle in The Mandalorian:

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #244: Reading from Empty Hands on the Imperial Ranger Uniform and Like a Hood Ornament 4 – Cliff Secord’s Jacket

Episode #244: Reading from Empty Hands on the Imperial Ranger Uniform and Like a Hood Ornament 4 – Cliff Secord’s Jacket

https://archive.org/download/podcast244/Podcast%20244.mp3

This week’s show is about clothing – Logan’s Imperial Ranger uniform in Empty Hands and The Thirteenth Hour as well as Cliff’s jacket in the Rocketeer segment (which inspired the way I drew Logan’s costume).

In the first part of the show, I’m reading from a section of The Thirteenth Hour interlude, Empty Hands, which describes what the Imperial Rangers wore for formal uniforms:

The morning of the Drawing was cool and crisp.  The last vestiges of winter were still apparent, though you could get by without a coat if you were willing to be a little chilly.  For the ceremony, we were supposed to wear our formal uniforms, which we started training in a few days prior.  Unlike many things about the Imperial Army, a lot of thought had gone into Imperial Ranger gear, and although there were no surviving craftsmen who knew how to make Imperial Ranger boots, uniforms, and weapons, enough of the old training manuals had survived that the ones in the castle could learn.  Compared to the stiff, uncomfortable uniforms the regular Army soldiers wore, the Ranger uniforms were fairly well designed.  They were intended to be working uniforms and could look sharp if clean and pressed, but they had both functional and cosmetic purposes due to the Rangers’ multiple roles as soldier, explorer, bodyguard, and diplomat.

As our instructors had said, we did have to move a bit differently when fighting in our uniforms, though not as much as one might have thought.  The pants and shirts were baggy and easy to move in, for instance, and the outer tunic that covered the shirt was flexible but offered protection since it was interwoven with a layer of fine-link chain-mail backed by suede to keep the links from embedding in a wound should the chain-mail break.  It wasn’t as heavy as wearing a full chain-mail shirt, but it offered disguised protection from glancing strikes to the internal organs of the torso.  It wouldn’t stop a point blank shot from a warbow, but then again, there’s a good chance standard plate armor wouldn’t, either.

All this flashed through my head as I raced to get ready that morning.  Unlike most days, there had been no early morning conditioning session, so everyone had slept later.  My bed was in the corner, and I must have continued sleeping as Blake, who had the top bunk, left with the others for breakfast.  When I woke, the position of the sunlight shining in the window let me know immediately that I had overslept, and a glance at the clock in the corner confirmed it was 8:50, meaning I had exactly ten minutes to get to the field where the Drawing would be taking place.  Cursing, I ran to the washroom, took care of my morning business, and rummaged through my locker, searching for a uniform that wasn’t crumpled or malodorous.  I’d hung up my sweaty uniform in the washroom after yesterday’s practice, but someone must have knocked it over soon after, since now it lay in a crumpled, smelly heap on the floor.  We had three each, but my other one smelled even worse, so it took some digging to get to my last one, which was still wrapped in the bag in which it had been issued to me.  I raced out the door as soon as I had it on and ran the whole way to the field where the King would be addressing us for the formal commencement of the Drawing.

I was still late.

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A concept sketch of the Imperial Rangers wearing the uniforms described above.

Another sketch of Logan flying through the air on Lightning wearing the uniform described above.

There’s a little instrumental part to accompany parts of the story where the Imperial Rangers have to march around (in the LP Long Ago Not So Far Away) that is playing in the background during part of the reading.

Speaking of music, I’ve been going through a number of acoustic guitar songs I used to play a lot when I was first learning how to play, since in this time of national quarantine, I try to do music time with my kids as a part of, you know, daddy daycare.  I’ve picked out a few that are more hopeful and positive than the stuff songs are often written about (heartbreak, unrequited love, longing, substance use, and other important adult matters).   Anyway, I’ve included one such song (“If We Hold On Together” from the 1988 cartoon, The Land Before Time), as it was co-written by James Horner, who also did the music for, yes, you guessed it, The Rocketeer.

Today’s Rocketeer segment is also about flying – the Rocketeer’s jacket!

777261cc-33ff-42cb-b641-368622356139

Today marks the fourth Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few previous episodes about the Rocketeer:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, we’re discussing Cliff’s jacket – the iconic leather jacket with the front bib making up the front.  Although you can totally buy lots of replica jackets, the origin of the jacket is totally unknown to me.  I have never exactly been able to find where Dave Stevens got the idea for it but have a few guesses about things he may have been influenced by or watched as a kid:

-Commander Cody serials (which you can totally watch on Youtube) – wears a leather jacket; note the similarities to the Rocketeer’s helmet and double barreled silver rocketpack.

Commando Cody | Public Domain Super Heroes | Fandom

Commando Cody was the hero in a 12-episode science-fiction serial ...

-Westerns, like this shot of John Wayne in Horse Soldiers:

This is my new reproduction of the shirt worn by John Wayne in "The Horse Soldiers. Shoulder board insignia IS NOT included with this shirt. John Wayne, Classic Films, Western Shirts, Hollywood Stars, Soldiers, Double Breasted, Movie Stars, Captain Hat, Dessert Games

You can find a similar shirt in many places like (https://www.spurwesternwear.com/p-1125-scully-bib-front-shirt-red.aspx).

Here are some pictures of Cliff’s clothes from the original comic drawn by Dave Stevens (they come from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition).

img_0538img_0539img_0542img_0546img_0540img_0543img_0544img_0541

You can see a photo above of Dave Stevens on the right trying on a Rocketeer helmet wearing Cliff’s jacket (he used photos of himself as models for Cliff).

This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #243: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Flying Through the Clouds and Like a Hood Ornament 3 – the Rocketeer’s Rocketpack

Episode #243: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Flying Through the Clouds and Like a Hood Ornament 3 – the Rocketeer’s Rocketpack

https://archive.org/download/podcast243/Podcast%20243.mp3

This week’s show is all about flying, both in the traditional part of the podcast as well as in the Rocketeer segment.  I’ll always aim for them to be related if possible, since, after all, The Rocketeer was one of the things that influenced the writing and creation of the Thirteenth Hour world.

In the first part of the show, I’m reading from the chapter where the main protagonist, Logan, is gifted a silver hoverboard he calls Lightning that has its own onboard magical “computer” (though that’s never exactly stated), allowing for a kind of magic artificial intelligence, and runs off the power of the sun (again, never exactly stated, at least not in this one).

Just to get us in the mood, I thought I’d include the intro from the 1984 film, The Neverending Story, for the quintessential audiovisual cloudscape experience:

Here is the passage from The Thirteenth Hour:

Lightning beeped cheerfully and drifted slowly forward down the lighted blue pathway that I had walked down earlier.  She really picked up speed in the windy section near the entrance. I crouched down low, white–knuckling the board with both hands.  Maybe I should have practiced a little first, I began thinking to myself.  But Aurora was in trouble, and I needed to concentrate on that.  The flight to Cordel would have to be my practice.  Lightning shot out of the Palace and began to climb steeply.  My heart plummeted into my stomach, and I prayed that we would slow down, eyes shut, knuckles even whiter as I gripped the edges of the board for dear life. 

The board beeped then; I opened my eyes slightly, and by shielding them against the torrential winds, I was able to see a message flash across the complicated, yet impressive looking front of the board. 

“Relax, Logan!  There’s no way you can fall.  Both your feet are now strapped in. You can let go of my sides if you want.  Have fun!”  

I looked down; my right foot was now securely strapped onto the board.  I stayed crouched low, but let go of the edges, first one hand, then another.  As soon as I did, I felt as if I were going to fall backwards and began to flail my arms.  Lightning slowed down a little, allowing me to regain my balance.  But at every dip, my stomach felt like it was shooting up to my throat.  I wanted to grab onto something solid, but I realized that there was nothing but air to hold onto!  In desperation, I gripped the side of the board again, but it didn’t do any good.

“This is harder than I thought!”

Another message flashed across the screen.

“Well, it really isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it.  Just relax and let me do the work.  Now, how about some aerobatics, my favorite?”

“Uh, wait a minute!  Aerobatics?  Is that anything like acrobatics?  I don’t think I’m ready for that!” I yelled.

“Sure you are!  You just don’t know it yet!  All you have to do is hang on!” flashed the screen.

I yelled a succession of curses as my stomach shot up to my throat as Lightning spun around three times in succession.  The screen read, “Barrel roll maneuvers complete.”

Whatever that meant!  She ended up in an inverted position, with me looking at the sea, dizzy.  I had paid so much attention to the insides of my eyelids that I hadn’t looked around to notice how high we were.  We seemed to be traveling at an insane speed.  The waves far below flashed by in a blur.  The wind kept getting caught in my gaping mouth and bellowing out my cheeks while I struggled to close my mouth.  At one point, I felt like I was going to fall out, dangling only by the straps holding my feet onto the board.  Instinctively, I grabbed both sides of the board.  Lightning rolled back over, and I breathed easier. 

“This might help you out.  I am going to deploy an invisible shield that will surround you and myself.  It’s just like a big bubble.  It will cut air resistance and protect you.  And just in case you’re interested, it will prevent you from falling should you manage to slip out of the foot restraints.”

“We couldn’t have done this before?” I croaked, as wind caught in my mouth, hard that time, stunning my vocal chords.

“No, my programming instructs us to be at least fifty miles away from the Palace before I deploy the bubble shield.”

“Why fifty?”

“If I overheat, I could self–destruct.  The explosion would level anything in the surrounding area within a fifty mile radius.”

“Self–destruct?” I repeated, horrified.

“The shield has never been tested before.  There’s a very slight chance that it will overload my systems.”

“Overload?” 

“Is it just me or is there an echo here?  It’s alright.  The shield’s up now. All systems are operating well within normal limits.  However, it’s written in my programming to warn all passengers if they aren’t.”

As if they could do anything about it, except maybe jump off and die hitting the ground instead of in a mid–air explosion.  The wind didn’t seem to be blowing as hard now, though I couldn’t see the shield, nor could I feel it.  But I noticed that it was much quieter, and I could talk without shouting, although there was still a ringing in my ears from the rushing wind.

“It seems to work,” I said, feeling around tentatively.

I looked back; I couldn’t see the Palace.  When I asked how far we were away from it, Lightning flashed across her screen, “About 75 miles right now.” 

Jeez, we were going fast.  We couldn’t have been in the air very long; under an hour, I guessed.  I looked back again and noticed a plume of colored, sparkling mist in our wake.  It looked just like a rainbow.  I looked under the board; the mist was coming out of three separate locations on Lightning’s bottom side. 

“Those are my engines.”

I realized that I had been so caught up in the excitement/horror of my ride with Lightning that I had never even questioned how she generated her power.

As if reading my mind, Lightning flashed, ”I can show you the owner’s manual later that discusses more of the specifics, but for now, all you need to know is that there’s a readout on my display that shows how much power I have left.”

I found the icon on her display, which read 95% power.

“You know, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or anything, because I really appreciate you going fast since you know I’m in a hurry and all, but do you think you could slow down just a little?  I think I left my stomach somewhere behind the last mountain.”

“No, according to my scanner, you still have it.”

“Oh … it was just a manner of speaking, you know …”

“A joke?”

I laughed.  “Well, almost, I guess.”

“Tell me a joke then.”

“Oh, I don’t know any good ones.  When we find Aurora, we’ll ask her.  She’ll know some.”

“All right.  Nothing like learning how to swim by jumping in the deep end, huh, Logan?”

“Right.  Without a lesson.”

“Well, no one ever did learn to swim in a turtle pool.”

“What’s a turtle pool?”

“You never had one of those?  One of those little plastic kiddie pools about a foot deep that you fill up with a hose?”

“Plastic?  Kiddie pool?  Hose?”

“Ehh, never mind.  Probably just some stuff that hasn’t been invented yet.  One of these days I really have to organize my files.”

“So … how long until we reach Cordel?” I asked.

“About thirty minutes.  How do you like flying around like this so far?”

“I like it, especially with the bubble shield.”

“Good!  We’ll always fly with it on from now on.  I’m glad you like flying!  I knew you were a flyer when I first saw you!” flashed the board, with a few friendly beeps.

“We’re going to take a little detour, and I think I’ll throw in a few tricks, just to keep things interesting.  Wouldn’t want you to fall asleep or anything!”  

“Oh, I really don’t think you’ll have to worry about …” 

Just at that second, I tried to scream as Lightning shot upward suddenly, but my voice was still somewhat hoarse.  All that came out was some kind of croaking sound.  Then she hung a hard right, shot into a loop with a couple of twists thrown in, and straightened out high above the clouds.  My stomach, however, took a little longer.

“Guh … give me a minute to recover,” I panted.

“Okay.  It’s pretty much a straight trip from here, so we’ll take it easy so you can get used to doing turns and things like that. Of course, you can always count on me to fly, but I thought you’d like to give it a shot yourself.”

By shifting my weight left and right, I was able to make turns.  By leaning forwards or backwards, I could either climb or dive.  I even tried a tentative loop with all the grace of a one–legged stork.

“Hey, not bad!” flashed the message board.  “See, it’s not so hard!” 

“I guess …” I said.

“Logan, I know what you need!  A little attitude!  How about some music?  ‘Cause there isn’t much to see up here.  Just clouds, and when you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all.  And there’s nothing like music to boost your confidence!” 

“Music?” I asked, a little surprised.

“Yes.  One of my unsung talents.”

“Hey, Lightning, that was a joke!  Well, kind of, anyway.  I think that’s called a pun.”

“Really?  Well, see, things are looking up already!”

I heard a sound suddenly.  Or sounds, rather, but they were like nothing I had ever heard before.  The music sounded slow, at first, then it picked up pace, until the speed of the music matched the speed of our flying.  It was strangely futuristic, but at the same time, it seemed like I had always known the melody. [When I was originally writing this passage, I had the melody from When in Rome’s “The Promise” in mind.]

There were words sung, too, but in a language that I neither understood nor wanted to understand; somehow, the mystery of the words added to the mystique of the music.  In a way, this is in vain, as my description here will do no justice to the melody, because there are some things that are perhaps impossible to describe in words and are better left unspoken.    

I felt, at that moment, an incredible rush of energy and indescribable exhilaration.  I felt ready to take on the world – or, at least, a dragon or two.  All my fears of flying vanished like the mist of the rainbow behind us. The feeling of gliding through the air with the wind rushing through my hair, sleeves and pant legs flapping back and forth, and the music rushing up to meet my ears was indescribable.  But it is perhaps best compared to that day, long ago, when, as I stood at the top of the hill near the castle, looking out at the landscape around – I let the wind take my hand and lead me to dance.

I later wrote a song for Long Ago Not So Far Away about this part of the book that became the song, “I’ll Fly Away.”  It has two versions, both below – with varying levels of synth and tempo depending on your mood!

Today’s Rocketeer segment is also about flying – the Rocketeer’s rocketpack!

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Today marks the third Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few previous episodes about the Rocketeer:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, we’re discussing three versions of the rocketpack (in descending order below): 1.) the sliver-purple one with fins from the comics, 2.) the finless silver double barrelled Art Deco one from the movie, and 3.) the silver and purple double barrelled one with fins from the cartoon that came out this past fall.

img_0478

The Rocketeer - Meet Kit Secord (Promo) - YouTube

Here are a few design ideas on the gloves and rocketpack from the film, showing the original prototype (closer to Dave Steven’s original drawings), then how it evolved into the double silver bullet shape seen in the film (these come from The Rocketeer Official Movie Souvenir Magazine).

Here are some excerpts from the original comic drawn by Dave Stevens about how the rocket pack was controlled and refueled.  (The images below come from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition, which is unfortunately quite difficult to find now – look on Amazon and eBay for used copies at more reasonable prices).

This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

Episode #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast242_202003/Podcast%20242.mp3

On this week’s show, I thought we’d do a little more quarantine / seclusion real talk – specifically on self reflection when alone with your thoughts, as many people are these days, kind of like Logan in one part of The Thirteenth Hour, which we’ll be reading from shortly.  We may ignore or put off deep thinking in day to day life, either out of discomfort, fear of what we’ll find, or lack of time.  But, on the other hand, sometimes being alone with your thoughts offers the most freedom of expression, since there is no one else to censor your thought process except you (and the voice of society, upbringing, etc – though that’s still you, just your interpretation of those things).

Here are are some of passages from The Thirteenth Hour referenced in the episode:

I don’t know how long I sat there – I was vaguely aware of the sun going down at some point, but my mind wasn’t really on that.  I struggled a lot that day, but not with nausea or sleep.  I had always been a pretty optimistic person – most dreamers are, I think – and liked to think that people were basically good inside.  I wanted to believe that there were happy endings, and that it wasn’t just something people wrote about in books so they could vicariously experience something they never knew in real life.  I basically wanted the world to be a good place, or if not good, at least non–imposing, leaving me free to do what I wanted.  I had always thought if you left people alone, they’d leave you alone.  But that didn’t always happen, did it?   It was like being a grain of sand in a desert where a simple gust of wind or footprint could shift the position of the grains all around you, changing your own position.  Perhaps accepting that was part of something called growing up, but I sure didn’t have to like it.

If it’s just one person, perhaps life is simpler, but when there is another, things get more complicated.  I wanted to believe that love could work out, too, even though I still didn’t really know what it felt like.  But I was an optimist and wanted to believe that I would know what love was like one day.  But if love meant surrendering part of yourself, could you really do that if you felt ashamed of what you had to give? …

… And though I never asked her to, she came each day after that, even if it was just to sit by me and put cold compresses on my body as I drifted in and out of feverish sleep.  Sometimes I wondered why she did, since I had so little to offer in terms of companionship.  But finally, one day, the fever broke, and I awoke to find that the pounding in my head had gone.  I looked out my window – night.  I did not feel like sleeping anymore and began to test my unsteady legs.  As I hobbled in and out of the shadows of my darkened cell, I found my mind wondering when Aurora would stop by.  Of course, not until daylight, many hours from now, a realization that stung a little at first.  But the more I thought about it, the sting became an ache that racked my body painfully until I was forced to sit down on the floor.   There, with labored breaths, I thought back on specific things that had happened over the past few weeks, over the past few years, over the course of my life.  Then there was a spark, a sudden flash of light, and it all became so clear; I marveled how I could have been so blind.

It was then that I understood why the bards so often sung of love, because for the first time, I actually knew what they were singing about.  Because it was then I knew that it was love that I’d been falling into all along; I just hadn’t known enough about it to realize what it was.  And then, to my surprise, I rolled over onto the floor and began to cry.  Maybe I was happy, maybe I was sad, I didn’t know.  But I hadn’t really cried in such a long time that it was like I was experiencing it for the first time.  The tears that flowed from my eyes pushed away the dirt and sweat and grime, leaving a clean streak behind, fresh and ready for the future. 

(POV change to Aurora) I found him sleeping there on the floor the next morning.  He did not stir when I walked in.  I knelt down and felt his forehead; the fever had passed.  For the first time in many days, he looked like he was at peace.  I did not disturb him.  But after a few minutes, he opened his eyes and saw me next to him.  Then, he sat up slowly, looked at me, and smiled.  There was something different in his smile, but I smiled back all the same.  And then I knew what it was; he understood!  Then we put our arms around each other and stayed that way in that dank, dirty cell for a long, long time.   

I wrote a song for Long Ago Not So Far Away about this part of the book that I talked about a little back in episode 51 (recorded around the time I wrote it).  The lyrics and associated chords are below:

Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things

Intro

C
There’s this girl that I know
G Am
Actually, I’ve known her all my life,
F
It seems, to me.

C G
And when she found me, as a child
Am F
All alone, without a soul, to call my own.
C
Best friends were we
G Am F
Did I ever say how much that meant … to me?

C
And so … the seasons go
G Am
Promises of childhood seem so bold.
F
Can they grow old?

C G
Now I hold her hand but
Am
As an adult man, and something is …
F G
Different this time.

C
That grey dress she wears
G Am
Seen it a hundred times before
F
But not like tonight, not like tonight. ‘Cause
C
There’s a fire in her eyes
G Am
The wind catches a lock of her hair
F
And my heart lifts in time.
C
There’s a smile on her face
G Am
One I know that time can not erase …
F
But it feels new.

C G
And then all at once, it hits me like a thousand tons
Am F
How I could’ve been so blind?
C G
And that’s when I knew why songs are sung of love
Am
Because, because, because … it was love
F C
I was falling in … this whole time.

Instrumental: C G Am F C

The album version of the song (instrumental version above):

 

When I was producing the song, I added more layers and an electric guitar segment to the latter parts of the song to beef up the song what is essentially a four chord folk ballad to create a dichotomy between the slow, tender, piano part with a louder, more biting, aggressive part reminiscent of an 80s metal ballad.   I wanted it to be that way to capture the balance between Logan’s tender realization in a time of vulnerability contrasted with the flash of insight that he must lift himself up out of a hole in the ground (quite literally – he is a dungeon, after all) with his strength of will.

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Today also marks the second Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few episode mentions about the Rocketeer prior to last week’s show on Cliff Secord’s biography:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, I’m reading from some of Dave Stevens’ handwritten notes on the backstory he created for Cliff to give depth to the character and explain some of the motivations Cliff had (which, admittedly, were somewhat self serving).   This comes from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition, which is unfortunately quite difficult to find now but has pages and pages of storyboards (like the one below) and notes from Dave Stevens on the characters and story he wanted to create.

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https://imgur.com/gallery/yYmEOnO?s=sms

More coming next week!  Stay safe!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #231: 2020 Goals Part 2 and A Thirteenth Hour Reading

Episode #231: 2020 Goals Part 2 and A Thirteenth Hour Reading

https://archive.org/download/podcast231_202001/Podcast%20231.mp3

Hope your new year is off to a good start.  In this episode, I continue with the theme started last year about discussing new year’s goals.  I’ve been working on a part of The Thirteenth Hour sequel draft where the main characters, Logan and Aurora, are making a life for themselves on a little seemingly secluded island, and towards the end of The Thirteenth Hour, they plan how they’re going to do that.  It fits the general theme of making new year’s plans, so I’m reading a few excerpts from that part of the book today.

Again, best wishes in all your creative pursuits in 2020!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #229: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 4

Episode #229: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 4

https://archive.org/download/podcast229spacecamp4/Podcast%20229%20Spacecamp%204.mp3

This week, I’m continuing reading a few more chapters of the novelization of the movie Spacecamp, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  This one is aimed at slightly older readers and is written by Joe Claro – every now and then, you can find one used on eBay or Amazon.  I’m curious to see how the novelization fares after a few decades.  The last time I rewatched the film, I still remember quite liking it (posted my reflections here back on episode 154).  In this week’s show, the campers have to figure out how to get back home!

Some black and white photos from the book going with this week’s episode:

img_9437img_9438

Happy new year, people!

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #228: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 3

Episode #228: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 3

https://archive.org/download/podcast228spacecamp3/Podcast%20228%20Spacecamp%203.mp3

This week, I’m continuing reading a few more chapters of the novelization of the movie Spacecamp, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  This one is aimed at slightly older readers and is written by Joe Claro – every now and then, you can find one used on eBay or Amazon.  I’m curious to see how the novelization fares after a few decades.  The last time I rewatched the film, I still remember quite liking it (posted my reflections here back on episode 154).  In this week’s show, the campers get launched into space!  Check out the lack and white photos from the film up to this point in the story:

img_9434img_9435img_9436img_9432img_9433

To be continued next week!  Happy holidays, people!

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #227: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 2

Episode #227: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast227_201912/Podcast%20227.mp3

This week, I’m continuing reading a few more chapters of the novelization of the movie Spacecamp, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  This one is aimed at slightly older readers and is written by Joe Claro – every now and then, you can find one used on eBay or Amazon.  I’m curious to see how the novelization fares after a few decades.  The last time I rewatched the film, I still remember quite liking it (posted my reflections here back on episode 154).  In this week’s show, there are a few unrealistic training sequences that definitely were not in the actual Spacecamp!  (But they’re still fun to think about).

Image result for spacecamp movie

I gotta say, if you’re going to make a logo, this is how you do it.

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #226: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 1

Episode #226: Reading the Novelization of the 1986 Film, Spacecamp, Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast226_201912/Podcast%20226.mp3

This week, I’m taking a break from song writing to read from a book I haven’t looked at in years – one of the two novelizations I own of the movie Spacecamp, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  This one is aimed at slightly older readers and is written by Joe Claro – every now and then, you can find one used on eBay or Amazon.  I’m curious to see how the novelization fares after a few decades.  The last time I rewatched the film, I still remember quite liking it (posted my reflections here back on episode 154).  It’s interesting, nonetheless, to think how the film might have done had it come out a few years earlier (or maybe a few years later), since regardless of the ’86 Challenger explosion, it inspired a whole generation of kids who saw it and became interested in science, aviation, and/or space exploration.  To be con’t next week!

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #223: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 1

Episode #223: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast223_201911/Podcast%20223.mp3

This week, I start work on a new ballad written from the perspective of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour from this passage in the book where our young protagonists are starting to realize that there might be more to their relationship than just friendship (The Thirteenth Hour is occasionally told from multiple perspectives; bolded black portions of the text below indicate a perspective change from Aurora to Logan):

I hadn’t seen much of Logan the whole dance; he’d been whisked away by an overzealous female flamingo as soon as the dance had started. The last I saw, he was listening to the animated hoots and squawks of the backflipping chimpanzee after they’d had a backflip contest which ended in a tie.

The more I looked for him, the harder he was to find. I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of jealousy. After all, we’d come here together. We should have at least once dance. For some reason, that seemed important … I couldn’t explain, but I hoped he would understand.

The animal band suddenly announced that this would the last song, and when the crowd protested, they promised to make it extra–long and slow. Great. These were the kind of songs that required a partner. And if you were a girl and didn’t have one, like me, you either stood marooned on the floor, awkwardly waiting for someone to ask you to dance or retreated to the sidelines. I looked around for awhile but could not find Logan. As I sighed and turned to walk to the side, suddenly he was right there, alone. Among all the faces swimming around my eyes, I saw only his. He didn’t ask if I wanted to dance; he just took my hand, and we joined in the crowd.

“There’s something …” we both said at precisely the same instant. And then we both laughed. “… that I wanted to tell you,” we both finished.

There were a few seconds of silence. I felt like there was an invisible wall that my words had to get over … if I could get them over that barrier, everything would be fine. But I couldn’t do it, at least not yet. Finally I gave a sheepish grin and a sideways nod that said “maybe you better go first.”

“Well, back when I was talking to the unicorn – you know, the Lord of the Earth, he offered to see into my future. And the fortune said in the very near future I’d be married. Can you believe it? Can you imagine me, married?”

I thought for a second. There were a couple of places I could go from there, but I chose the semi–safe route. “I think I can, but … what made you think of that just now?”

“Well, I really wanted to tell you at the baths. But then we got interrupted. And then, at dinner, there was so much going on, and I kinda forgot. And then I saw you just now and, I dunno, that’s what I thought of. I don’t know why, I guess.”

“Did the Lord say to whom?”

“No, he didn’t say.”

“Didn’t or wouldn’t?”

“Wouldn’t. I did try asking.”

“You must have been surprised. You sound surprised.”

“I was. I just never really thought about it before. Maybe it would be nice, if you found the right person, but finding that person … I dunno, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

He wasn’t taking the bait, and I couldn’t really blame him. It was kind of a long shot. Guys weren’t great with these kinds of things, anyway. Still, it never hurt to try. “You really think it would be so hard to find the right person?”

“Well, how many girls have I really known?” I shrugged and laughed, looking down at Aurora’s feet. “I mean, who would I marry, you?”

Ouch …

I regretted it the moment I said it. I’d been joking, but hadn’t meant it to come out like that. If there was any girl I did have feelings for, Aurora certainly would’ve been the one, but to marry someone, you had to love them, didn’t you? I still didn’t really know what that was. There was an awkward silence. I laughed a little and felt like an idiot. Aurora laughed, too, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should have just kept my mouth shut.

It was alright, and I said so. Like I said, it was a long shot, and even I didn’t understand the weird mess of feelings inside. But I was forced at that moment to admit that they were there. Things were changing, and I was falling.

“ … but you said that you had something to say, too?” Logan asked.

I just shook my head and looked down at the spinning dance floor. It made me dizzy, and I looked back up at Logan. He was just tall enough so I had to look up a little to meet his gaze but not so tall that I couldn’t rest my head on his shoulder, if the time were right for that. I didn’t, though. Instead, I looked into his eyes but could not tell what he was thinking. I did my best to smile, and we danced that way until the song ended.

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #222: Reading Choose Your Own Adventure 88 – Master of Kung Fu

Episode #222: Reading Choose Your Own Adventure 88 – Master of Kung Fu

https://archive.org/download/podcast222_201911/Podcast%20222.mp3

This week, I take a trip back to 1989 in reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book – Master of Kung Fu by Richard Brightfield and illustrated by Frank Bolle.  It’s a real blast from the blast – a true mish-mash of 80s Asian tropes, including most of the stuff that permeated martial arts films at the time.  Some of it is truly, well, cringeworthy, like some of the 80s kung fu and ninja flicks back then … but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  I thought these books were the bee’s knees in 1989 so I’m going to try to suspend, you know, reality (at least in an adult sense), and appreciate this with the mind of an elementary school age child (which makes it awesome again).

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By the way, speaking of kung fu and ninjas, yes, they’re both in this book.  Yes, I know it’s talking about China and kung fu and white lotus societies.  There are still ninjas (suspend judgement, suspend judgement, suspend judgement, ok?  Ninjutsu has some roots in Chinese martial arts, and it all goes back to India and Tibet, anyway, so … you know, just go with it).

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Yup, straight out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – totally not joking … one of the more cringeworthy parts … product of the times.

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Basically sums up the 80s ninja craze – stick ’em everything! Especially wearing the black PJs in broad daylight, since you know, that blends in so well. It all made more sense in 1989.

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #220: An In-Person Conversation with Adam from AC Toy Design / @mom_gave_them_away

Episode #220: An In-Person Conversation with Adam from AC Toy Design / @mom_gave_them_away

https://archive.org/download/podcast220_201910/Podcast%20220.mp3

For this week, I’m doing the rare in-person podcast with guest host Adam Crohn from AC Toy Design (a.k.a. @mom_gave_them_away on Instagram), who’s been on this show a number of times before (see episodes 144 and 145 plus episodes 159, 160, 161, and 162 on four Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s movies).  I happened to be in Chicago for work, so Adam was gracious enough to take time out of his day to show us around the city and record a few shows.  On this week’s show, we are discussing the process of our resin casting projects – both of us in the last year or so have created minifigures and spend much of the episode comparing and contrasting our experiences.  Lots of great discussion on 80s throwbacks as well as toy design and creation.

See below for some pictures of the figures we made:

 

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Want to get one of Adam’s figures for your own? Check out his store at:
https://actoydesign.bigcartel.com


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If you’d like to pick up one of these figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there. The glow in the dark figures are currently done. The painted minifigures will be available shortly.

**A few of the other links we discussed on the show:

-Death by Toys (custom Kenner style action figures): http://www.deathbytoys.com/

-Support Adam on Patreon and get exclusive tips, media, and figures: https://www.patreon.com/adamcrohn

-Check our Adam’s Youtube channel for a tutorial on resin casting your own figure: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4IVGqEbVnAKLrVQXcSgnFA

-Gallery of some of Adam’s custom figures: https://www.artstation.com/adamcrohn

-Adam’s other Instagram accounts:

–>custom figures: https://www.instagram.com/actoydesign/

–>You Like Toys Podcast: https://www.instagram.com/youliketoyspodcast/

—–>listen time the podcast on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/adamcrohn

—–>listen to the podcast on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3W1GcWGS74a8K3ssbL3ECM

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If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #219: A Thirteenth Hour Piano Medley

Episode #219: A Thirteenth Hour Piano Medley

https://archive.org/download/podcast219_201910/Podcast%20219.mp3

This week, I recorded a session after happening on a grand piano at a hotel this past week. I tried to play a bunch of Thirteenth Hour song riffs continuously, kind of like how old musicals used to do a medley as the credits rolled.

I stopped the recording in the middle since a gentleman stopped to ask what the song was and to say he’d liked it (thanks, mystery gentleman, it was The Thirteenth Hour theme!). I’m generally horrendous at self promotion in day to day life.But, I suppose I should probably work on it more consistently. So you’ll notice a few new things this episode – a standardized outro with reminders of social media and other presences as well as a virtual tip jar courtesy of www.ko-fi.com.

The track I started a few weeks ago, “The Skipping Stone” is done and available at https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/track/the-skipping-stone

Speaking of music, if you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #218: “The Skipping Stone” and Minifigure Updates

Episode #218: “The Skipping Stone” and Minifigure Updates

https://archive.org/download/podcast218_201910/Podcast%20218.mp3

This week, I’m wrapping up the track from last week, “The Skipping Stone” as well as a few updates on the minifigures that I’ve been working on for the past year or so.  All the nonpainted ones are packed up and ready to go.  Here are a preliminary shots!

I’m still working on the painted ones:

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The finalized track for “The Skipping Stone” will be up on bandcamp soon (once I make some cover art).

Speaking of music, if you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #217: Musical Interlude – Thirteenth Hour Reading Set to “The Skipping Stone”

Episode #217 Musical Interlude – Thirteenth Hour Reading Set to “The Skipping Stone”

https://archive.org/download/podcast217_201910/Podcast%20217.mp3

This week, I’m reading from a short excerpt from The Thirteenth Hour sent to a draft of a music track I just wrote to score this particular passage. It was done on the iOS app, Auxy, and was meant to be an ambient, introspective instrumental piece. Because skipping stones feature in the excerpt a few times, I tried to find synthesizer effects that sounded like splashes of water.

The man from the Army was already waiting at the doorway. The Army man looked a little surprised when he saw me, possibly because of my height. He stood outside in the hallway while I “got my things in order.” But there was really nothing more to do, and I was just stalling for time.

Aurora stood in front of me, waiting as I fumbled with the knot on the bundle that held my belongings: a spare set of underpants, a few pairs of (holey) socks, and my two best skipping stones. They were both smooth and flat, but one was sandy colored and the other dark blue. The sandy one I had found a long time ago on a shallow river bottom. It was just the right size and weight, and despite numerous throws and temporary losses, I had somehow always managed to recover it. The dark blue one had been Aurora’s. She made me take it. Like mine, it was of perfect shape and size except that there was even a little notch on one corner that you could fit your finger in to put more spin on the stone as you threw it. She had been delighted to find it, and we both knew it was special. Special things have a way of falling out of your hands when you least expect it, but she always found it again and said it brought good luck. When said she wanted me to have it, I protested relentlessly, saying that if she gave it away, what would bring her good luck now? She gently but firmly closed my hands over it, and that was the end of that.

When I was younger, one of my favorite storybooks in the orphanage library had a picture in it that I’ll always remember. It was about a little bear leaving home to go to school for the first time. Before the little bear left, the mama bear looked down, held her son’s shoulders with her paws, saying, “Be brave now,” and kissed his forehead. I had never seen a bear, had no idea whether they could talk, if they wore clothes, if went to school, or if they kissed like people did. But that’s what Aurora did just then. After Mrs. Brunscomb, she certainly didn’t need to straighten out my collar or comb my hair, but she did kiss my head, and said, “Well, time to go. You’ll be brave now, I know you will.”

It did kind of make me feel like a kid, but then, in many ways, I still was one. I’d even had to promise myself that I wouldn’t cry, that I’d make a good showing at least until I got outside. After that, all bets were off, but as long as I could make it till I was alone, everything would be alright. So over and over, I repeated to myself the line that the orphanage nurse always used when a boy came in with an injury. “Come on now. Be strong. Real men don’t cry.” And I really wanted to be a real man, but I’d had precious few role models to go by.

When I looked up at Aurora, there were big tears rolling down her cheeks. She gave me a sad little smile, and that was it for me; I couldn’t help it. I tried a trick that never really works–I opened my eyes really wide, looking around the room. I tried to smile back, failed, and turned around quickly.

“You all set there?” asked the Army recruiter. “Don’t look back. Say, what kinda place is this anyway? I didn’t pay any attention when I walked in. Seems kinda depressing. Too dark for me.”

“It’s an orphanage,” I said softly.

The man opened his mouth as if he were going to say something, then shut it. He was quiet for a minute, then said, “Then who were those people back there? I thought the old lady was your mom and that gal was your big si …”

“Just a friend,” I cut in quickly.

“Shit, sorry, kid, I didn’t realize. Well, we’ll make a big man outta you, don’t you worry,” he said, slapping my shoulder; I nearly took a tumble onto the stone floor.

We reached a big cart attached to four horses. He opened a door in the back. “Get in, and make yourself comfortable,” he said, shaking his head with a laugh.

I looked in the cart, jammed packed with men on wooden benches. They were all quiet, looking tired and depressed. A few of them waved a little and tried to make some room, but there wasn’t any to spare, so I sat on the dirty floor in between the legs of the men and their bags. The recruiter closed the door, locked it, and disappeared from sight. The cart had no windows except for a small one by the door, letting in a little sunlight.

From my seat on the floor, I could see our window–Aurora’s and mine–on the second floor. I strained to get up to see if she was there but could not move. Suddenly, just when the cart began to move slowly forward, I saw her. She opened the window, leaned her elbows on the sill, and looked out.

My hand closed over the skipping stone she had given me; it felt cool and solid against my hand, as if it would always stay the same. I pulled my knees in, wrapping my arms around, trying to hide my head like I had done on that day, so many years ago, when I’d met Aurora, sitting on my new bed, wondering where I was. But this time, she wasn’t there.

Speaking of music, if you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #215: Storytime Reading: “The Princess Knight” by Cornelia Funke

Episode #215: Storytime Reading: “The Princess Knight” by Cornelia Funke

https://archive.org/download/podcast215_201909/Podcast%20215.mp3

This week, we’re doing a reading of a short children’s book, “The Princess Knight” by fantasy author Cornelia Funke. It’s a modern fairy tale, and a good one for the little girls in your life (good for boys, too). Check out this page to take a look at some of the whimsical illustrations inspired by medieval tapestries and this link to find a copy of the book.

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If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I have been working on the past year, click on the link below to do so!

 

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

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Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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